Monday, April 4, 2011

Stop Writing To Think

This probably sounds crazy, but I sometimes feel so caught up in the need to use any spare moment for writing that I forget to take time to think. As I move along with rephrasing, adding emotions, or enriching descriptions, I'm thinking, but not deeply enough.

It's usually a comment by a critique buddy that makes me stop and really consider one of the elements I've put into my story. Does it need to be there? Why did I put that there? How can I make it work? Lately, I've been stopping a lot, even for elements that seem to be working, to think, 'What if...'

And it's been exciting. Even when I thought I had my story all worked out, thinking about what might happen if one element was a little different has led me to changes that increase tension, deepen character motivation and streamline the plot.

Do you ever ask "what if" when you're revising?

7 comments:

  1. Yes, all the time. But also a habit that can be easily picked up!

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  2. Absolutely! Right now, I'm outlining, and all I do is think "what if" - it's some crazy creative awesome stuff! :)

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  3. Right on! I, too, get caught up in the writing and not stop to really ponder. Last week I did stop and thought through some problems and presto a problem I was having was solved. Who would have thought (yeah, bad pun). :)

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  4. Not enough, when I'm revising (when I'm writing I do). I'm glad you mentioned it! :)

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  5. Kathi and Alison, sometimes I'm almost reluctant to stop to think too much while I'm revising, because it prolongs the process, but in the end it really does help the story.

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  6. Yes! Great post~ that's why I love critique partners so much. They really push you to think. And I'm really trying to get on board with the "let your manuscript sit for a month before you dig into revisions" thing--it's amazing what random, enriching plot elements occur to you :) (it's sooooo hard to wait though)

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  7. Yes. I was writing today and suddenly wondered - is this necessary? And the answer was no. It's so easy just to keep writing that sometimes you miss making your writing better. I'm still working on it! :)

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